Archive of Articles for December, 2020

My 2020 "McLaughlin Awards" [Part 2]

[ Posted Wednesday, December 30th, 2020 – 18:26 UTC ]

Welcome back to the second part of our annual year-end awards column series! If you missed it, you can check out last week's installment too. But a warning -- for both this column and last week's -- they're long. Incredibly long. Monstrously long. It's been that kind of year, what can we say?

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Section 230? More Like Section 8...

[ Posted Tuesday, December 29th, 2020 – 14:47 UTC ]

That joke may date me a bit, because if you've never served in the military, the only way you'd recognize "Section 8" is from watching M*A*S*H. Corporal Klinger was forever trying to get kicked out of the Army for being insane or unfit to wear the uniform, under the military's Section 8 regulation. Now, Donald Trump is trying to kill a provision of the law that regulates online social media companies that happens to be called Section 230. But in doing so, he's really only proving the depths of his own insanity, since killing off Section 230 would result in the exact opposite of what Trump thinks it will. If Section 230 disappears, Twitter and Facebook and all the others are going to bend over backward to remove any postings that might get them sued. Which covers a whole lot of what Trump regularly tweets.

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Last Chance For Year-End Awards Nominations

[ Posted Monday, December 28th, 2020 – 14:28 UTC ]

OK, to begin with, a word of warning: our schedule for this week is going to be light. Today (obviously) there will be no new column, and tomorrow will be a re-run column, just to warn everyone in advance. Then Wednesday will be the second installment of our year-end awards (see below). Thursday I will try to write a column, but if the "banished words" list comes out early (sometimes it is posted on the last day of the year, sometimes on the first of the new year), then that's what it will cover. Friday, naturally, there will be no column, as we all nurse our first 2021 hangover. Starting Monday, we'll be back to a full schedule once again, as we count down the last 20 days of our national nightmare.

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My 2020 "McLaughlin Awards" [Part 1]

[ Posted Wednesday, December 23rd, 2020 – 18:01 UTC ]

What a year. Seriously, that was a tough one for us all, wasn't it?

Before we begin with the awards, I would just like to thank all the people -- both online and in person -- who helped out by giving me their suggestions and nominations for all of these awards. I have tried to credit individuals where appropriate, but I probably forgot to do so here and there too, so I apologize in advance.

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From The Archives -- Why Christmas Is Not On The Solstice

[ Posted Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020 – 17:43 UTC ]

When is Christmas? And why?

These are questions guaranteed to get you funny looks when you pop them, especially in a gathering of wassail-soaked relatives. But if you're tired of hearing the seemingly-eternal "this is what Uncle Fred did when he was twelve" stories, and you're leery of bringing up politics with your kin from Outer Podunk, then it's at least a conversation-starter that's somewhat neutral. Plus, you can reaffirm your nearest-and-dearests' image of you as a latte-sipping fruitcake who moved away from the glory of the heartland and now lives on (say it with an embarrassed whisper) the coast.

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From The Archives -- The Biggest Conspiracy Of All

[ Posted Monday, December 21st, 2020 – 17:13 UTC ]

Speaking as someone who generally enjoys a good conspiracy theory just for the "creative writing" aspect alone, in all good conscience I simply must report this shocking news: I have uncovered a big, fat conspiracy that is no mere theory. We're either being lied to, or we're joining in the propagation of the lie ourselves, with merriment. In actual fact, it would not be hyperbole to call this the father of all conspiracies.

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Friday Talking Points -- Is It January 20th Yet?

[ Posted Friday, December 18th, 2020 – 18:23 UTC ]

Once again, it's been a momentous week in American presidential history. Right as we were writing last week's column, the Supreme Court laughed President Donald Trump's last-ditch legal effort to overturn the will of the voters of multiple states right out of court. They were entirely correct in unanimously turning the case down, because it was so very laughable a concept to begin with. Texas was essentially arguing that it should be able to have a veto over any other state's election, because they didn't approve of that state's election process (in reality, what they really didn't approve of was who won those states). Coincidentally enough, they only complained about the states which, if their votes had been denied, would have handed the election to Trump -- even though several other states (including some red ones) had done exactly what Texas was complaining about in the four states they tried to sue. It was all nakedly transparent, and not based in any legal or constitutional foundation whatsoever. Which, again, is why it got unanimously laughed out of the highest court in the land.

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Waiting For Trump To Go

[ Posted Thursday, December 17th, 2020 – 17:49 UTC ]

What will the political landscape look like after Donald Trump leaves office? That question is on a lot of people's mind right now, for obvious reasons. Everyone who voted for Joe Biden wants the entire country to move on and move forward, obviously. But even a lot of Republicans truly hope that the post-Trump world arrives sooner rather than later. What's standing in the way, however, is Trump himself, who shows no signs of fading into the background any time soon.

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Baseball's Big News

[ Posted Wednesday, December 16th, 2020 – 17:31 UTC ]

It's a pretty rare day when I devote an entire column to sports. But today has to be one of those days, because Major League Baseball just took two giant steps forward that will right two historic wrongs that simply had no right to still exist in the year 2020. The Cleveland Indians announced they were dropping their racially-insensitive name, and the league finally decided to overturn a decision made 51 years ago and include the Negro Leagues in their official definition of what constituted a "major league" in the sport. Both, as I said, were two giant leaps forward for equality and inclusiveness, and both should be duly celebrated.

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D-Day Times Two

[ Posted Tuesday, December 15th, 2020 – 17:00 UTC ]

One particularly apt metaphor was making the rounds yesterday, to describe two very different events. It was, we were told, "D-Day." The significance of this is that D-Day wasn't the actual end of World War II -- not by a long shot. What it was, however, was just as important: it marked the real beginning of the end.

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